savethehumans (2)The roses still sweeten the air under our oh-so-blue skies. God knows I’d rather focus on the little things in my life, especially on what’s going right. The fact I get to choose whether to choose outrage or calm speaks of the privilege of the life I lead, even with the challenges I face—including those I don’t share in public (or even in many private) spaces.

In my day job, I read lab manuals. What’s not to love about some clear rational thoughts? Although, these days I am increasingly aware that certain “trigger” words might keep someone from learning the science in the books. Such strange times in which we live.

For whatever reasons, for the past 20 years or so, in my spare time, I have been drawn to reading fictional books that challenge my comfort level—in short, that allow me to appreciate my own nonfictional life. About regimes changing over and genocide (e.g., Cambodia, Iran, and Rwanda), but mostly I read about Nazi Germany (and the various countries they invaded) and slavery in the USA. Happy stuff—not.

But it allows me to put a human face on those who are crushed by those in power—I try to understand the lives of people who either never had power or people who had their power taken away. And these readings remind me to be concerned for the powerless and to know that they are people like me, who want the best for their families.

What happens in almost every instance of these awful tilts in power is that the group at the top works hard to dehumanize those they consider the Other. Frankly, it would seem as if the authors of the books were lacking in creativity and just writing the same story again and again. Sadly, the power differentials in the plots are not fictional but historic.

One of the biggest ways these powermongers dehumanize and destroy the Other is by separating families. Divide and conquer. Make it so they must make subhuman, no-win decisions if they do wish to stay together.

This has not been the way of the America of my birth. But especially with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ May 7 declaration (that every person entering America illegally will be prosecuted and those who arrive with children, will have them taken from them), it is now.

Unconscionable.

Don’t give me that argument that they deserve everything they get because they are breaking the law. It’s false equivalency to equate those whose only crime is illegally seeking refuge with people who have committed additional crimes. If this attempt to access our borders is their first recorded trespass, shouldn’t the punishment be no more than to send them away from our borders?

However, if we are going to insist on prosecuting them, even ignoring that many of those are arriving seeking asylum from violence of many kinds, the additional tactic of separating children from their parents still remains an action similar to the tactics from the pages of evil regimes.

As of late, We the People are being told not to worry about people in high places who ignore ethical boundaries or break laws, maybe even commit high treason, but these people crossing the borders deserve the sentence of losing their children? For the crime of wanting to protect their children?

There has to be a better way to protect our borders without dehumanizing those whom we seek to keep out.

blackandwhiteberlinmonument

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

I fear for these children and parents. What we are doing to these people makes me especially afraid of who and what America is becoming—please tell me that we are not trying to write our own evil storyline.

Because this is the sort of plot that never should play out in real life in a country such as ours, which has long been a leader in improving human rights. If we act as if the rules of human decency only apply to how we treat our own children within our borders, we need to reconsider who is truly subhuman.

Culpable (guilty),” whisper the parents in the border courtrooms.

Culpable indeed. This should not be considered a political statement—this is a human rights statement.

What are you going to plead?

 

Advertisements
orangerose060518

(C) 2018 Trina Lambert

I like my job—and I miss having time to ponder. Don’t get me wrong—I do take time to stop and ponder for a few moments at work, and then I get back to what I’m supposed to do. So far, though, I haven’t figured out how to prioritize writing down those thoughts once I make it home. The few thoughts that have made it onto my blog these past two years remind me that I am approaching blogging just as I approached journaling when I was growing up. If you could read those old journal entries, you’d think I was always upset and angry—and that nothing good ever happened.

That’s because the only time I took to write was times when I was upset. Writing, after all, is a great way to process wild emotions and figure out what to do about what isn’t working. But it’s the little occasions, the boring ones, the ecstatic happenings, and the random thoughts that round out a life well lived.

And those never made it into writing.

When I took up a journaling habit about 20 years ago, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I had missed out on the breadth of my life by only recording my worst moments. I mean, who wants only their worst thoughts to be their legacy?

Not me! Yet here I am, doing it again.

This, despite the fact June has arrived, and with her all the roses that bloomed over a few short nights. Our rose seasons for the last several years have been severely shortened by voracious Japanese Beetles, so much so that these pre-Beetle days of roses and sunshine smell especially sweet to me.

Saturday dawned with blue skies, light breezes, and cool temperatures that would eventually rise to no more than 80. While running with my dog through the much fancier neighborhood next door to mine, I drank in the many hues of late spring flowers, the green-green grass of the golf course, the yellow-green reeds waving along the path, the fluorescent shades worn by the passing cyclists, even the yellow stripe in the center of the road. Colors were exploding on an extraordinary ordinary day.

The day stretched with activities such as taking dogs to vets, watching a team of 6th grade baseballers (and their little sisters) wash my car, and puttering around with my plants, before I finished it up by sharing tasty breakfast tacos and icy margaritas with my husband at a favorite local spot.

Not much of note happened. Perfect, right? Nothing like taking a day off from outrage to appreciate just what you’re fighting for—for you and for all the other ordinary people just wanting to live ordinary lives.

Taking time to smell the roses isn’t trivial—it’s essential.

And for me, maybe it’s just as important that I finally got around to recording some of the little moments that make up my life—and make it worth living.

20170821_113234

Eclipse. (c) 2017 Trina Lambert

Advent is all about waiting—but this year, despite the arrival of Thanksgiving and the busy shopping season it ushers in, we are still lingering in a form of calendar limbo. Check it out: Calendar A for the previous liturgical year ended on November 26 with Christ the King Sunday, but Calendar B for the coming liturgical year starts with Advent on December 3. So where are we now on November 29? Waiting for the waiting?

And, yet, it is so ironic that while we wait and prepare for the season of giving, our screens are filled with stories of people who go through life taking, in one form or another—just as in the days when the Chosen People were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. They thought they were getting a Messiah to come to fight overarching power with power—but what they got was a baby, which is pretty much the opposite of power. Then after they waited for him to grow to become a man, he spent his time with them telling them to take on power—by loving and giving? Can you imagine?

Sometimes it feels as if we have no idea how to help those who are hurting or how to go about confronting the powerful forces that would keep taking from the world. But we need to remember that we do have an idea—it’s simply to love and give. That’s it—each of us has to figure out for ourselves how we’re going to go about doing that loving and giving—and bringing about light in a world full of darkness. That’s the kind of power we can claim without harming others—and we don’t even have to wait—not for Advent, not for Christmas, not for any day on any calendar.

Imagine the brilliance of our combined light.

Oh, Lord, help us to turn on that light—now.

runningshoemay2017 (2)

Trina Lambert (c) 2017

Wow, 70 degrees forecast for November. I just had to go running over my lunch hour the next day. While packing my backpack that night, I ticked off my list: running shoes, socks, skort, shirt (sleeveless!), jogging bra, visor, running belt, and inhaler. Packed lunch in the fridge that I could take to eat while working at my desk afterwards. Office clothes hanging in the bathroom. To bed too late—as always.

A “woman of a certain age,” I was not surprised when I woke later to go to the bathroom. However, what I didn’t expect was to almost fall when one of my knees didn’t want to bend as I hobbled down the hall. Strange—returned to bed with care, resolving to sleep with my leg lying straight out instead of curled in. That ought to fix that knee trouble, I thought.

Only it didn’t. Dawn arrived along with the tinny tune from my phone alarm, but my leg was decidedly unfixed. As I worked through my daily physical therapy stretching exercises, my right knee continued to resist my attempts to loosen it up.

And it hurt. A lot. Did not help that the shower is in a 1940s bathtub—making its side a little too tall for a knee that won’t bend—but I grimaced and brought it along with me anyway. By the end of the shower I had realized I was going to have to walk at lunch. Maybe I should grab a warmer shirt, but I could still go.

Hmm, bet I could have my husband massage it and check for any swelling or other problems. I stretched out on the bed to receive some help. After he finished his assessment, I bent back my leg and said, “Look it won’t go back any farther.” Then I dropped to the floor and started to walk—until my knee just screamed “no” at me. I joined in the screaming, with my husband staring at me for a few seconds before he ran to get me a chair.

And was it hot in there or what? As a roaring began in my ears, I wondered, “Can heart attacks start in the knee?” Then the heat left as quickly as it began. But I knew I wasn’t running—or walking much that day. In fact, I wasn’t even going to wear the skirt I’d put on—better to wear pants if I might end up on the floor.

My husband packed me into my car for my three-minute commute. When I arrived, my co-workers rolled me, sitting in a wheelie chair, to my office. With my leg propped on a fitness ball, I massaged arnica into the knee and gently stretched the muscles. Wasn’t feeling too bad anymore, so I popped up to go to the bathroom—and almost screamed again. Stuck halfway between the bathroom and my desk—and my pride—I debated what to do. But you can bet I didn’t ask for more help. Finally, I sidestepped, as I do on skis when I am unwilling to commit to the steepness of a slope, back to my desk, leaving a pattern in the carpet that looked as if one truck tire (by itself) had driven from the door to my chair.

I lowered myself and sighed. And then I reached for my cell phone.

Several hours later, carrying a CD with an X-ray of my (thankfully) not-very-arthritic knee, I stepped from the urgent care center into that balmy 70-degree day, skies still blue. It appeared I was going to live to run another day—just not that day or any day soon. A detour, but not the end of the road yet.

And in that moment, it was enough—or close enough to enough for this “woman of a certain age”—for now.

lutherrosereformation5002017

Martin Luther Rose (from Reformation 500 Tour 2017) (c) 2017 Trina Lambert

I tend to spend my Saturdays away from the news, concentrating on household, family, and personal needs. Sometimes I forget that it appears that when the Leader of the Free World takes time away from the White House on weekends, he may squeeze in some recreation time by golfing, but he also tends to create more news by tweeting. Then I wake up on Sunday and realize more damage has been done to another group of people or individuals who have been attacked in a most unprofessional and cruel way. Oh, I pray in church, Lord do I pray—and sometimes I even begin writing blog posts.

At one time, I worked for a manager who was socially tone deaf. In his case, I don’t think he meant to harm people with what he said, but he did anyway. One day he came out to make small talk with his team, and then looked at my coworker and said, “My you look fat today, Steve.” I had had enough, even if he was my boss. I told him that we as people don’t always say what’s on our minds and he replied, “Well, I do.”

I told him he shouldn’t, but should do it based upon the situation at hand. Forgive me, but I still believe that sometimes we should moderate our unkind thoughts.

For everyone who says they elected the current president because he speaks his mind and just says what everyone else is thinking—well, then shame on you for thinking that we should all share our worst thoughts. We as a nation have elevated someone who cannot and will not stop speaking in awful ways—both about and to other people. And he does so in our names!

There was a time when we as a society knew it was impolite to say certain things. You can tell yourselves that was being too PC (politically correct), but it was simply about manners. Quite frankly, many of these derogatory terms and slights are really not as offensive to people higher up in the power structure than they are to those in the lower rungs of society. (You know, people who experience prejudice based upon something about their race, sex, religious beliefs—anything where you can start out an accusation with a “you people” before it.)

But they offend me—and I know they do offend many people who are part of a “privileged” group, despite our backgrounds. Just because I am a descendant of blonde Germans and Danes doesn’t make me special. Down one branch I have relatives whose robes (think triple letters in the middle of the alphabet) were found in their closet when they died. I cannot atone for their actions, words, or beliefs, but I can be held responsible for my own—and for how I raised my children who are grown adults now, and who are also appalled with what is being said and done by the highest officer of this nation.

What happened to all the “radical” songs of love we sang in church in the 70s? Did we not mean them? In my church, we sang from Ray Stevens’ “Everyone is Beautiful”: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children all of the world, red and yellow black and white they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” I still think all children are precious: blonde-, black-, red-, brown-, blue-, or no-haired. I think we should care if their homes are flooded or if their cities are bombed or if they’re afraid of the law enforcement people who are called to protect them. I want to believe our level of caring has nothing to do with whether they’re brown or shades of it—or not.

And on that topic, if the leader won’t choose to say something in a respectful and decent manner, then I don’t care to hear what his innermost thoughts are. Instead, I want him to act and speak with the gravity of speaking for our nation. Or how about speaking simply with the civility many of us strove to teach our children? In our house, we didn’t say the “s” word (“stupid”). My kids were taught that it’s not okay to call people names (especially the kind that used to be bleeped out on TV) or tell them they are something such as a lazy person versus someone exhibiting an attribute such as acting lazy. Instead, you call out their actions and behaviors—using factual proofs, of course, not just innuendo.

A person who is acting a certain way is not necessarily that at his or her core. Unless the actions happen again and again without changing and without apology or any demonstration of a belief that anything needs to change. In that case, you get to judge a person on the content of the character as demonstrated.

Authority is earned. Consider me civilly disobedient.

Respectfully submitted,

A Concerned Citizen of the USA and a Child of God

cblskulldrawing2011cropped

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

I am a preexisting condition.

Look me in the face and tell me that if I have had any medical conditions in my past, you should have the right to dump my insurance coverage—or at least make me pay more–$4,000 per year, in the case of my exercise-induced asthma. This from people who might never get the health they deserve from their habits or lack of habits. They might not even exercise. While I am at yoga, Zumba, and out running, they could be sitting down on the couch with a bag of chips—but somehow I deserve to pay more?

My mom always told me life wasn’t fair, but I think she believed that most of our institutions had caring, dedicated people in them who would try to do right.

Where are they?

I don’t know, but I’ll tell you where many of the current leaders are—they’re trying to “win” a competition by passing legislation that will harm people’s finances and their everyday health—and maybe lead to their premature deaths.

These leaders are busy pandering to their base—whatever that word really means. First of all, Congress exists for all of us, not just for some “base” who voted for certain leaders. But, in a practical sense, unless this base clearly has 50% or more of our population, then these leaders are building something—healthcare, in this instance—that does not have a base that can support the weight of all those who are, what? The table top? They’ll listen to this mythical “base”—composed of people who may or may not know anything about healthcare or finances—but they won’t listen to experts from either the medical or the finance side.

And while they’re doing this, they come up with a plan to “punish” any states that chose to expand care to others—and to take away their funding and give it to states that did not provide care. So these godfathers in Congress aren’t afraid whether anyone knows that they are suggesting that anyone who disagrees with them and their base will be very, very sorry?

It’s funny, but I’ve been saying for years that part of the reason bullyproofing programs in schools have failed is because so many adults prefer to lead by bullying. You know, I have never watched reality television because I really don’t enjoy watching people play “Lord of the Flies” and ganging up to vote people off the island, and I never thought it was cool that someone could become a star for telling people they were fired.

And yet, here we are. But folks, what’s happening in Congress is not entertainment—and it isn’t entertaining. Unless, I guess, if you’re part of that base.

What all those leaders and the “fans” from their base don’t seem to get is that WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL. Yes, I’m shouting. Bad things happen, and yet we keep getting told that we need to take personal responsibility for those actions and stop thinking someone should take care of us.

Folks—we’re all one doctor’s test or what some would call “act of God” (think floods, hurricanes, fires, etc.) away from personal disaster. Unless . . . unless we set up a society that doesn’t see tragedy as something that has been set upon particular people as something they deserve while also believing that good health and prosperity also happen as something people deserve or have earned. I don’t really believe that my God’s up there throwing lightning bolts—or those floods, hurricanes, and fires—at us based on our actions—sometimes stuff happens and it’s nobody’s fault.

I’ll say it again: Bad things happen. And often the costs associated with those events are more than an individual can pay.

That’s why we come together as a society to help one another. That’s also why being in Congress is called serving for a reason. Being elected to such a role is supposed to be about more than doing whatever it takes to prove your team is winning—no matter the costs.

These leaders are just living in blind ignorance that one day that doctor’s test isn’t going to tell them health news they don’t want to hear—even if it’s a treatable condition, but something an insurer was allowed to opt out of covering. They think that a catastrophic accident will never happen to them. They don’t think it will be their kid who is born with a heart condition or who suffers from a mental illness. In fact, some of them don’t know that some woman or girl they love might be punished for the preexisting condition of being female.

Our leaders are supposed to be champions for all of us, not just for their supporters. They are supposed to do the deep studying and reading that might help them to come up with solutions to resolve big problems. Quite frankly, they’re not supposed to crumble when a bully calls them up to tell them their team needs a “win.” And, if that voice is wrong for the many of us who may or may not come from their team, they’re supposed to stand up to any forces that would pressure them to do less than what is best for the rest of us.

I am a preexisting condition and, quite frankly, most of you are also. We can’t let people who have lifetime healthcare coverage make a game out of toying with our lives. The odds of winning this game are close to nonexistent for those of us who are just pawns in this game we didn’t choose to join.

I am heartsick at how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was rammed through the House of Representatives this past week—on the National Day of Prayer, no less. This cruel piece of legislation was approved without the representatives even taking the time to read what it does, without their listening to professionals in the medical fields AND insurance companies, without their hearing the pleas of people all around this country who are in need—in short, without caring. The word “care” in no way belongs in the term “Trumpcare.” The message of “I don’t care” is being shouted throughout this country I already considered great—and is reverberating around the world.

And to add to my utter despair are the words that were spoken by people who voted for this travesty and by those in other positions of power.

Despite what these people would like you to believe, we do not always get what we deserve—sometimes we get more and sometimes we get much less. There is no perfect formula that says, “if you do this, then that will follow”—especially in our health matters.

I’m here today because when I was four months old, the citizens of our country still believed that when an infant falls ill from a congenital birth defect, it is our duty as a society to provide her with healthcare, and in a manner that does not bankrupt her parents.

As I grew into my teens—with no lingering effects from that early life-saving surgery—unaware that I had exercise-induced asthma, I fell in love with running (once my father stopped smoking). I would run 14 years—including four years of high school track and four years of college track—before being diagnosed with that breathing problem in a routine physical. And, yet, the only cost associated with my condition these days is for the inhaler I use to pre-treat before I do cardiovascular exercise—if I were sedentary, I would never need an inhaler, but I doubt my blood pressure numbers would be nearly so good either.

Another pre-existing condition—one leg shorter than another—something I’d been told didn’t matter when I was a 15-year-old high school athlete—turned out to make a big difference after decades of running. In my late 40s, I was so much healthier than most people my age and have the numbers to prove that from tests that were performed for buying life insurance. Most weeks I ran three times, practiced yoga three times, did Pilates once, and danced at Zumba twice—that was every week. My bulging disc came out of nowhere and was not at all related to being sedentary, as the literature our insurance company sent me seemed to imply.

I was devastated and did what I could to get better: chiropractic, physical therapy, and the exercises I’d been prescribed. At one point I was doing those exercises for an hour a day—in addition to the yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and walking I still did during the week. A good proportion of the costs associated with my healing fell on us—for every $50 copay we paid, our insurance paid the providers an additional $10 to $20.

While it was challenging for us to pay those costs and for me to take the time to work on my healing, it was not impossible. Many people must live with their pain or stop working because they cannot afford the care or to put in the focused effort to heal. These days I still put out additional money to make certain I remain healthy—I pay for neuro-muscular massage and we have purchased a new, fairly expensive (to us) mattress that also makes a difference. Not everyone has these types of resources.

When members of congress state that people earn their pre-existing conditions through bad habits, it is really insulting—both to people like me who most certainly were not poster children for the condition I developed and to people who do not have access to the resources that make it easier to stay healthy. That type of statement ignores the randomness of how disease and injury can enter the lives of anyone at any time—such as when I came into the world with a congenital defect that would try to kill me within months of my birth. It’s hard not to think that what these people are really saying is that people should just go ahead and be “selected out” if they can’t afford to treat their own medical conditions.

And then when a wealthy, older man such as Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, states that older people will need to pay higher premiums because they use insurance more and cost more, my first thought is that with his money, he can afford his health care, and, second, that We the People provide his health care—unless our level of coverage isn’t good enough for someone like him. There’s no denying that people my age and older are more expensive to cover, but do we really want to be a society that cares for only the strong?

That is an immoral position, but that’s the sort of position that creates these types of legislation and the policies behind them. When your main concerns for managing government are about determining who is a winner and who is a loser, and then making certain that you never are required to pay anything for anyone you have deemed to be a loser, then society is the real loser. What’s so great about that?

Let’s not forget that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” thing. Besides, none of us knows the future. Just remember, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

welingerinwinterscarf

Scarf designed by Christiana Lambert for Knotty Tie, Co. in 2016 (sewn by an employee who is a resettling refugee).

I have all the words—and they’re just running rampant in my head and not getting out into the world. I have so many words that—forgive me—I’m not going to find it possible to “mind the metaphor,” as my friend used to caution.

I returned to work just under a year ago (anniversary date=02.01) and have yet to find my way back to my writing routine. But what a year this past year has been—exactly not the year for me to go silent. Heck, what a week it has been.

How many of us have been rendered almost speechless daily by the changes wrought on our nation? You’re just trying to do your part by performing the work you are paid to do and then you come home to discover yet another congressional action or executive order has happened—and you are stunned. Stunned that what it meant to be the United States of America can change so radically in such little time.

As I sat in church this morning, I listened to lessons from the lectionary (a three-year cycle of prescribed bible verses that many churches follow) that seemed hand-picked for just the times in which we are living. Coincidence? Not likely. Micah 6:8’s exhortation to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” and Matthew’s beatitudes (the “blessed ares” that turn the power of this world on its head) as well as 1st Corinthians’ talk of the seeming “foolishness” of following Christ’s ways are words I needed to hear to remember that God is in charge—even if His not-so-subtle message is that we’re going to have to walk our walk for Him in the days and months ahead.

I have one writing prompt this week and it’s to write a prayer to pray at choir this coming Wednesday. What follows is my brainstorming for my assignment. I originally chose that date because Wednesday is almost Candlemas, which is celebrated on February 2. Traditionally in the church, February 2 is the day that commemorates the presentation of the infant Christ in the temple, as the date follows 40 days after His birth. Candlemas also was when families would bring in their candles to have them blessed for the year ahead. We here in America celebrate Groundhog Day on that day as we look for a furry critter to predict whether spring will arrive early or come as planned. From a strictly chronological viewpoint, February 2 is halfway through the winter—a time when we either start to wonder if spring will ever come or when the slightly longer days remind us that spring’s arrival is getting closer.

This year it seems we are stuck in the darkness of this particular winter of our discontent. We can hardly look ahead to spring. We are a nation in discord with members of our own families, with neighbors, and with other people of faith—as well as with our traditional enemies (both personal and national). Well, that groundhog has already seen the shadow—and it is the shadow that holds our prejudices and fears as well as our turning away from the pain and suffering of others.

But Candlemas is all about blessing the candles—which were the only source of light for homes in the days before other light sources were invented. Those simple sources of light were all people had to brighten the remainder of the year. In other words, the Presentation of the Lord is the ceremony that reminds us that He is the Light of the World. And that we who follow Him are called to be that light not just in our own homes, but also in our home that is this earth.

I don’t have a clue as to how we’re going to fix this mess our country is in, but I know God does. He knows how He’s going to mend the fractures amongst people who follow Him as well as with those who profess another faith and those who profess no faith. And I think it’s going to look an awful lot like people walking their faiths in order to bring about light.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “We loiter in winter while it is already spring.” No matter what the calendar says, we have all the light we need to fight this darkness and bring on a period of growth. I’ll just continue my quote-fest here by adding the motto of my alma mater (Wittenberg University): Having light we pass it on to others.

Having light (that means we already have it!), WE pass it on to others.

I can’t tell you why but during one of the darkest national times in my experience during one of the traditionally darkest months of the year, this typically stoic Lutheran kept wanting to throw her hand up in the air while singing about the beatitudes in the hymn “Blest Are They” (by David Haas and Michael Joncas). (Might it be God, perhaps?)

Providing blessings and bringing light into this current world is going to look a whole lot like walking—walking among those who are poor in spirit—for theirs is the kingdom of God.

loveandpatientpartialheartcbl2014

(c) 2014 Christiana Lambert

For too long I have been silent. No more. My heart hurts for the discourse I read, and then further when I hear that some in our country are carrying out acts of hatred toward those who are considered the Other. For my friends who believe justice has been served in this election and that the losers on this side of history should just grow up and accept what has happened, I want them to understand that many people are afraid that is now OK to be judged (and punished) for how they look, or who they love. I’m not got going to grow out of my concern for the Other—and, for me, it is specifically because of what I’ve learned from others of faith and from the Bible. My God is a God of love and my faith compels me to strive to be a person of love—no matter what.

We all pick and choose what we quote from the Bible. I know this is considered a crazy and possibly heretical thought by many Christ-followers, but as a literature major, I can tell you I always read for depth and meaning in everything I read. While I may not know the Greek and Hebrew behind the original creation of the passages we know today, nor do I know all the history surrounding the events in the books of the Bible, I most certainly know to recognize when there are conflicting passages in the Great Book. I must prayerfully consider and reconcile the differences.

For me, I choose to pick the verses where Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love the Lord and God with all your soul and your strength and your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. In his exchange in Luke 10 with the expert of the law who correctly answered that those were the most important laws, the man then asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds by starting out with, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho . . . ”

He launches into the parable of the Good Samaritan–and I’m pretty certain that Samaritans were on some sort of registry there in those days. Who was the hero of that story? The outsider–and the man who showed love. What was Jesus telling us here? That love is love. And to love everyone.

There’s that “love everyone” thing again–which seems really, really hard to do these days.

I’m going to try to love the people who have made statements I consider unconscionable—not because my mean-spirited human heart wants to do so, but because my God asks me to love all my neighbors. We can disagree on how we approach the laws of this country, but unless the rhetoric includes language of kindness and empathy, I want others to know that I won’t stand for it. These days it’s all the rage to be snarky but it isn’t very Christian. And yet that’s just what we Christians are showing the world.

Who is my neighbor? You all are.

 

 

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

During what we know as the Last Supper, Jesus spent much of his precious remaining time trying to prepare his followers for how they needed to live after he was gone. And, what was the lesson he felt most compelled to share? Just this: Love one another.

The words from the lectionary (April 24, 2016) read:

John 13:31-35

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We, like the disciples before us, are so often slow to learn. When Jesus said to love one another—he meant to love everyone. But the disciples weren’t certain that the type of love shared with people who were like them should be shared with people, well, not so like them. Not just shared with people who were known as sinners, but also with people outside their faith and traditions. And, yet as those disciples and followers grew in their faith and understanding, they began to get it—Jesus had really meant for them to love everyone. Let us so grow in our own faith and understanding that, we, too, show—through our actions and our words—what it means to love everyone.

Who are we to hinder God and his plan for love for everyone?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 607 other followers

Blogging AtoZ Challenge 2012

Advertisements